What is a MOOC, you ask? Well, essentially, it's an open, and often free, university course available online to virtually anyone. And some of the largest and most respected universities in the country have gotten on the "Massive Open Online Course" bandwagon.
For teachers, MOOCs can be a fun and engaging way to expand expertise and gain new skills. And the summer is a great time to enroll in one of these courses. We've collected some interesting upcoming classes for the summer, as well as some sources to find courses of your own.
In the meantime, if you aren't familiar with MOOCs, check out The New York Times video below, which explains the ins and outs of this relatively new educational concept.
Upcoming MOOCs to Consider
Tinkering Fundamentals: A Constructionist Approach to STEM Learning: This should be a fun one from The Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum in San Francisco. Main points covered include "key design elements of high-quality, science-rich tinkering activities, effective facilitation strategies and environmental organization." And the class is designed for anyone wanting to add tinkering to an educational program. Starts: June 19
The Entrepreneurial Educator: Designing for the 21st Century: From Sonoma State University, this course focuses on the role of entrepreneurial thinking in education. From the description, the course covers the "defining features of entrepreneurialism in education, including becoming an economic unit of one, overcoming obstacles and failing forward, rethinking risk, and building alignment with business-education connections." Starts: June 23
Applying Principles of Behavior in the K-12 Classroom: This course from the University of Houston will cover the fundamentals of conducting a functional behavior assessment (FBA), as well as using behavior principles to "promote positive classroom behavior and intervene effectively when faced with challenging behavior." Starts: June 23
First Year Teaching (Elementary Grades) -- Success from the Start: This is the perfect course for rookie teachers. Designed by the New Teacher Center, this course offers teachers the chance to discover new strategies for creating a positive classroom environment. Note: A similar course is also offered for secondary teachers. Both start: July 21
Designing for Deeper Learning: How to Develop Performance Tasks for the Common Core : Designed for teachers in grades 6-12, this course from Stanford University "will focus on building educators’ capacity to use, develop, and implement curriculum-embedded performance assessments." Starts: Sept. 8
Where to Find MOOCs
Coursera: This portal, which was started by two former Stanford University professors, might have the most promise for educators. Most courses are free to participate in. Check out the Teachers' Professional Development and Education collections for the best teacher-specific courses.
Udemy Courses for Educators: Udemy courses are designed and taught by experts in their respective fields. Currently, Udemy’s education section has some fun and useful courses for educators, many of which are free, including "Google Earth for Educators" and "Apps in the Classroom." (Both are free.) Also check out Udacity, another source for expert-taught courses.
edX MOOCs: A joint project of Harvard and MIT, edX offers courses from a number of top universities, including UC Berkeley and University of Texas. In addition to education-specific courses, edX features tons of interesting math, science and IT courses as well, along with many other topics.
Class Central: Launched in 2011, Class Central is a MOOC aggregator, and it's the perfect search engine for finding the online course that's right for you. See also Canvas Network and NovoED from Stanford University.